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© Karen Devine 2013
It was during the Kamakura period that the warrior class began to rule in Japan. © Karen Devine 2013
The Shogun was the ruler and he enforced law through the power of The Samurai. © Karen Devine 2013
About 10% of the population at this time were from the warrior class. Yet, most of the population were farmers. © Karen Devine 2013
Samurai would serve the Shogun in return for land or other rewards. © Karen Devine 2013
Yet, some Samurai were masterless and were known asRonin. © Karen Devine 2013
A masterless Samurai was generally considered to be a shameful eventuality, yet some of them focussed on their swordsmanship rather than on service within a feudal hierarchy. © Karen Devine 2013
The Ronin were an anathema in a feudal system as they were largely uncontrollable as they owed no duty to a master. They were said to be chief adversaries of the status quo. © Karen Devine 2013
The Samurai were expected to: a) Show a good example b) Live by Buddhist teachings c) Follow Confucian ways of life d) Protect the feudal lord from enemies e) Live by Bushido f) Serve their masters g) Commit seppuku on their masters death. © Karen Devine 2013
Samurais only fought equals or those of equal military rank or worthiness. Often they called out their names before battle. © Karen Devine 2013
The Samurai were especially key during the invasions from the Mongols in the 13 th century, although they were assisted by the Kamikaze or divine winds in forcing the Mongol retreat. © Karen Devine 2013
Samurai were rewarded for their military efforts and some became very wealthy and powerful. One of the traditions of warrior life included seppuku or ritual suicide. © Karen Devine 2013
It was also known ashari kari or cutting the stomach. The stomach was thought to be the place the spirit resided. © Karen Devine 2013
Seppuku was a form of ritual purification and a way to save ones honour or accept responsibility for a major error. © Karen Devine 2013
Upon a Samurais death, the women of his household were also expected to commit Ojigi a form of seppuku where a knife was thrust through the throat. © Karen Devine 2013
As the Tokugawa period progressed the Samurais role changed from pure warrior to governmental administrator and hence they developed a power that made them indispensible. © Karen Devine 2013
However, they still retained a power to assassinate any commoner who showed them disrespect. © Karen Devine 2013
It was finally in Emperor Meijis Restoration period when the right to be an exclusive armed force was removed. © Karen Devine 2013
They were replaced by a western-style army of conscripted members in © Karen Devine 2013
The Samurai could no longer wear katana publically and lost the right to execute commoners who showed them disrespect. © Karen Devine 2013
Watch this film on The Samurai. The Samurai.
© Karen Devine 2013 QUESTION TIME Are there modern day Samurai?
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